Colorado Daily Snow

Sneaky Friday pow and look ahead to next week


An additional 2-7 inches of snow fell on Thursday and Thursday night though the deepest amounts were not where we expected. Looking ahead, Friday through Tuesday will be mostly (but not completely) dry, then we’ll see a weaker storm Tuesday into Wednesday, with a stronger storm Wednesday into Thursday.


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Short Term Forecast

Snow recap from Thursday and Thursday night

A few days ago, we were looking at the storm that was going to arrive on Thursday and I said that I had low confidence in the forecast since there was little model agreement.

Then on Thursday morning (yes, 24 hours ago), it appeared that most models agreed that all mountains would see some snow, with the deepest totals in the southern mountains.

But this was a storm that didn’t want to be forecast, because what actually happened was much different than even the 24-hour forecast that we talked about yesterday.

Instead of the southern mountains getting the most snow, it was the central and northern mountains that pulled out the higher totals (Wolf Creek also received 4", one of the higher totals).

Below are the snow reports from Thursday morning to Friday morning.

Aspen Highlands: 7”
Winter Park: 6”
Aspen Mountain: 4”
Beaver Creek: 4”
Copper: 4”
Loveland: 4”
Snowmass: 4”
Vail: 4"
Wolf Creek: 4"

Below is a map view of the 24-hour snow reports ending on Friday morning. Of those totals, about 1-2 inches fell on Thursday morning with 2-4 inches falling on Thursday night. This map is available on our new website (live today!) and new mobile app (available now for iPhone, soon for Android).

And just for fun, below is a look at the Winter Park snow stake cam from Thursday morning to Friday morning. The 24-hour total is now about 6-7 inches, with the majority falling on Thursday night.

I hate when the forecast isn’t accurate, but I love when the atmosphere provides more snow than expected.

The pattern that we’ve been in for the past week has been awesome as the atmosphere keeps finding ways to bring snow even when the forecast and the overall pattern isn’t perfectly set up for significant snow totals.

A friend of mine emailed me yesterday and said he loves skiing “soft on soft”, meaning that the base is soft from many days of fresh snow, and then we are getting light-to-moderate amounts of new snow each day to provide even more softness on top. Yeah, soft-on-soft is the key to great conditions! Thanks for that phrase, GR!

Friday through Monday

Friday morning will offer soft, powdery conditions with snow showers continuing. Then most models show the showers ending with maybe a few breaks of sunshine, except for additional pop-up showers over the southern mountains in the afternoon. The short-term forecasts haven’t been that useful over the past 24 hours, so we’ll see what happens.

Saturday should be dry, though we could stay cloudy over a lot of the state. Saturday night might bring additional showers to the northern mountains with light snow accumulations (dusting to 2 inches).

Sunday and Monday look dry at this point. As I said before, the atmosphere is finding a way bring clouds and some snow even when the pattern isn’t conducive to snow, so it’s hard for me to guarantee dry and sunny days, but these days do have a high chance for sunshine.

Next storms Tuesday to Thursday, powder Thursday?

The next weaker system should bring some snow to Colorado from later Tuesday through Wednesday. Again, this is a weaker system, so expect lower snow totals.

A stronger storm should then arrive later Wednesday and bring snow through Thursday. Snow amounts could be the real deal, with 6+ inches and a decent chance for a powder day on Thursday, December 13th.

Extended Forecast

Following the potential powder day next Thursday, December 13th, I have little to no confidence in the longer-range forecast.

Some models show dry weather for over a week after the storm on the 13th, with storms just missing Colorado to the south and north.

Other models show storms moving through Colorado every few days.

I really just don’t know.

For today (Friday), enjoy the soft-on-soft conditions, look ahead to a few sunny days, prepare for more powder later next week, and we’ll figure out the longer-range outlook when we can.

Thanks for reading!

My next update will be on Saturday, December 8.



Geography Key

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Along the Divide
Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass

East of the Divide
Eldora, Echo, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Central Mountains
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn

Southern Mountains
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains

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